In the days since Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) last episode, there’s been a great disturbance in the Force.
Most “Walking Dead” fans know well that before taking on the role of older Judith Grimes on the show, actress Cailey Fleming played young Rey in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” But some attentive series watchers have suggested there was another “Star Wars” cameo on the show this month ― a secret one we were never meant to know.
If the rumors are true, it was the cameo you’ve been looking for: We’re talking Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
Look, at this point, nothing is confirmed. HuffPost reached out to Hamill and AMC and we’ve yet to receive a reply. But with so many unrequited tweeters wondering did he or didn’t he, we decided to voluntarily fall, not unlike Rey in “The Last Jedi,” down a dark rabbit hole of truth. And what we found has to be shared with the world ― nay, the galaxy here and far, far away.
Break out your lightsabers and put on your tinfoil hats.
Was Mark Hamill secretly in “The Walking Dead”?
It went down like this: On the Nov. 4 episode of “Walking Dead,” Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) arranged for an injured Rick Grimes to be transported away by helicopter, a move that is likely meant to set up AMC’s Rick Grimes movie universe. Jadis communicates with someone on the helicopter via walkie talkie. Following the episode, a bunch of fans pointed out online that the person she’s talking to sounds an awful lot like Mark Hamill.
And it does sound like him.
Why dive any deeper? It’s obviously Mark Hamill, right?
The “Star Wars” actor does a lot of voice over work, regularly taking his talents to movies and TV, notably giving us the iconic voice of the animated Joker. Beyond his cartoonish voices, though, his day-to-day speaking voice is very distinctive, which is why so many fans are convinced the person speaking in the clip above is Hamill himself.
The helicopter voice sounds so similar to Hamill’s that people guessed the actor made an appearance weeks ago, back when the show first featured the voice on the walkie-talkie (in the third episode of Season 9), after Jadis called the chopper up from the junkyard to make sure its occupants weren’t killing Saviors.
But why would Hamill guest star on the show?
The “Walking Dead” producers loooove “Star Wars.”
I mean this with the utmost of respect: The people behind “The Walking Dead” are a bunch of “Star Wars” nerds.
In an interview last week, showrunner Angela Kang told HuffPost about the casting of “Star Wars” actress Fleming, explaining — like we said — that the producers sincerely worship George Lucas’ space opera.
“I’m a huge ‘Star Wars’ universe fan, as is [creative content officer Scott Gimple], as are a lot of people on our show. So that was very exciting for us to have little Rey on our show,” she said.
And hey, it makes sense to involve Hamill in the show now, potentially establishing him as part of the upcoming expanded universe of movies, since the helicopter group will obviously be involved.
May the Like be with you.
Maybe Hamill just innocently liked this random tweet from a fan about Fleming’s role in “Walking Dead.” Maybe. He is tagged in the tweet, so he could just be showing support for his franchise colleague.
But let’s take a second. Fleming’s role in “Force Awakens” happened in a flashback; it was even briefer than Hamill’s own famously wordless appearance. If I were to guess whether they were BFFs or they hardly know each other, I’d bet the latter. Would it make more sense that he liked this tweet because he knew Fleming would be taking on this role in advance... because he’s in the episode too?
Cameo conspiracies aside, “The Walking Dead” came out swinging in the first episode of the post-Rick era, introducing us to the talking zombies, aka the Whisperers, a group of living people who wear the skin of the undead.
Plus, we learned Carol (Melissa McBride), who’s gone all Katniss Everdeen, covered a bunch of rogue Saviors in fuel and lit them on fire. Oh, and it turns out the theories were right about Michonne (Danai Gurira) being pregnant with little Richonne: she now has a little boy named RJ. (Uh, Rick Jr.? Wait. Richonne Jr.?)
There was also a lot of Fleming, who is growing closer to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), filling in a storyline from the comics that the show seemed to abandon after the death of Carl (Chandler Riggs).
“Walking Dead” is off to a solid start without Rick. So if it’s not the Force working for it, something is.